There’s a ticking time bomb built right into the Senate Republican health care bill.
The legislation unveiled Thursday, which Republicans dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act, aims to preserve the Affordable Care Act’s popular rule forbidding health insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions. But the bill also would repeal that law’s unpopular individual mandate that most Americans obtain health coverage or face tax penalties and would significantly scale back financial assistance that helps make health insurance premiums affordable.
The problem is, those things work hand in hand, and are often referred to as the “three-legged stool” that keeps the health insurance system steady. Take out one or two of those legs, and the whole thing probably will fall down.
Keeping protections for pre-existing conditions means sicker people have access to health coverage and medical care, which is good for them but increases costs for everyone else in the insurance pool.
The mandate exists to nudge healthier people to get coverage even if they don’t have an immediate need for medical treatment; they pay into the system so it’s there when they inevitably get sick or injured.
And the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits for low- and middle-income people boost enrollment from a mix of sick and healthy people; a larger risk pool tends to be better than a smaller one.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
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